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UPDATE: Life-Changing Group Helps Military Vets Cope, One Shelter Dog At A Time

UPDATE: Life-Changing Group Helps Military Vets Cope, One Shelter Dog At A Time

**UPDATE December 29, 2015**

There are 3 days remaining of the #TagandWag campaign! To send in a much-needed donation, please click here.

Operation Delta Dog is nearly halfway to their goal, but they need more help if they want to train another veteran-dog team in 2016! The $10,000 goal covers a shelter dog’s adoption fees, extensive training classes for the pup and his or her veteran, and veterinary care, to name just a few expenses.

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This remarkable organization wants nothing more than to help change as many veterans’ lives as they can—and for some strange but beautiful reason, these dogs have the power and ability to do that.

BUT, they need our help to make it happen! Please consider donating to Operation Delta Dog to make this change a reality for a veteran and dog who desperately deserve it. Donations can be made at the Operation Delta Dog Affectly page.

Operation Delta Dog: #TagandWag

Dear advocates, families, followers and friends:We're in the final days of our #TagandWag campaign. We have 3 days left to raise the remaining $5,777 in order to fund an additional vet-dog team in 2016. 65 of you have already donated and many of you have shared our page with your family and friends. If you haven't already, please share either this video or a photo of your pet(s), using hashtag #TagandWag. We need your voice to help us reach our $10k goal! http://bit.ly/1Ne74EsThank you!~OpDD Team

Posted by Operation Delta Dog on Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Featured Image via Facebook/Operation Delta Dog

**Original Post**

It’s frustrating and sad to realize that more than 8,000 veterans take their lives in the U.S. each year because they believe they cannot handle living it. Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) take a significant toll, and it isn’t always possible for people to find ways to cope.

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Taking an especially unique approach to the issue is an organization known as Operation Delta Dog (OpDD). Made up primarily of volunteers, the group works solely to pair and train veterans and service dogs. The best part for the pups? They’re all pulled from shelters.

black lab

As founder and president Trisha Blanchet says, “The dogs get the homes they need, and the veterans get the help they deserve.”

OpDD is located in Massachusetts, where nearly 400,000 veterans call home and almost 20% live with these disabilities. At the same time, more than 50,000 dogs end up in shelters in Massachusetts alone, with nearly half euthanized for lack of space. Delta Dogs’ hope is to address both of these issues in the best way they know how.

Related: Shelters Across The Country Are Making It Easier For Veterans To Adopt Dogs
Related

Shelters Across The Country Are Making It Easier For Veterans To Adopt Dogs

Since their start in 2013 OpDD has successfully trained 18 human-dog duos. It takes 12-15 months to complete the intensive training course, but during that time the dog bonds with and learns everything about their veteran.

chris and sissy

Training Director Carolyn Barney says:

The veteran is a part of the training process. The dogs become bonded with them very quickly and will notice some of the important things that they need to notice […] where the animals will interrupt that and help them move on to whatever it is they need to be doing.

They help relieve stress, manage depression, and control panic attacks, and are able to complete a variety of specific tasks; the dogs provide stability to those with balance problems, wake their humans from night terrors, act as “buffers” in crowded places, and even perform “perimeter searches” in dark houses or rooms before their handler enters.

in training

The cost of accomplishing these feats is no small thing—it takes $10,000 of donated money to cover the costs of “adoption fees, training classes, insurance, basic office expenses, and veterinary care” for each dog.

Sadly, there are too many veterans on the waiting list, way too many homeless dogs, and not nearly enough manpower to tackle them both. That’s why, as a part of the #TagandWag campaign, Operation Delta Dog wants to pair one more life-saving duo in 2016—and they need your help!

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The campaign aims to raise an additional $10,000 using the immense power of social media and the generous, devoted humans who are a part of it. Simply visit the fundraising page to make your donation.

#TagandWag starts today, and you can be a part of the effort to change two lives forever. All donations are greatly, greatly appreciated.

H/t Operation Delta Dog

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